Musical Journey Stop #1: Frank Zappa

This is my Spring Break. I have been doing this and that and nothing of any great importance except having a great time with my family. As I continue to work on the cleaning and organizing of my office(yes, this is still ongoing) with the combination of reading a great YA novel, The Vinyl Princess(review coming later) I have journeyed down a new path. Let me back up and bring you up to speed.

One part to the cleaning of my office was the organizing of my cd collection. It is quite extensive. I remember in high school going to the small cd shops around my town with my buddy buying cd after cd. I remember buying ones at random hoping for the next great sound and the anticipation of what would be played from the speakers of our cars. I began to alphabetize my collection. I was successful until I tried to move my cd case(it was in bad shape) and it snapped in half. My hours down memory lane came crashing to the floor. My wife is out shopping in Chicago and she is looking for a new cd shelf unit for me. Anyways, when I was looking at my cd collection it reminded me as to how open I was to all types of music. I have a wide range of musical influences. As I have gotten older I have really fine tuned what I listen to.

I am also reading The Vinyl Princess which is about a girl who works at a vinyl record shop. I will post more later when I review, but I have been compiling a list of the album references while I read and I have decided to try to listen to every album mentioned in the book.

Why? It is time for me to get back to find that great music that I have been overlooking for such a long time. I have just begun this journey and already 1/1. I listened to the album Sheik Yerbouti by Frank Zappa. I am familiar with Frank, but have never listened to his music. WOW! What a album. I am not sure how describe this album. The lyrics have completely caught me off guard. This was a double vinyl LP release in 79 even though the tracks were compiled from 78 and 77. I was caught off guard by lyrics. They are so frank, honest, vulgar, and in your face. This album was first from his break with Warner Bros. I listened to this album and had to call my parents right away. I found out my dad was a huge fan. I brought up that I could not believe how vulgar the lyrics were which blew me away because most music from this time period were not that explicit. You could read into any lyric and find the meaning of what was being said, but Zappa just said it like it was. Today, this is not a big deal as everyone is over the edge and nobody blinks an eye anymore. I keep thinking while listening to this album, “Did he just say that?” I had to read about the album and discovered that the single, “Bobby Brown” was very popular, but banned in the US from airplay because of the lyrics(see, I told you mom!). I also discovered that one song was making fun of a Peter Frampton song and another song that was making fun of disco became another huge hit for him.

I have just put on hold the rest of the Frank Zappa musical collection. I must hear more despite how bizarre his music is. A word of caution that some of his lyrics are not always appropriate so beware, but this musical stop was well worth the visit. I have not been able to move on to my next stop which is great way to start. Thank you Yvonne Prinz for the mention of the album in your novel. I will write again when I move on to the next stop. Now, to only visualize my parents listening to these albums………..

P.S. I am in search of a record player so any good leads please let me know.

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7 thoughts on “Musical Journey Stop #1: Frank Zappa

  1. If you can get a copy of The Yellow Shark, listen to it! Frank Zappa writes orchestral pieces, with some spoken word and other cool stuff thrown in. I think the recordings were from right before he died but I could be wrong. It’s one of my favorite albums.

  2. there really isn’t a “Frank Zappa’s Greatest Hits” CD ( well, there is, sorta…. ) but you can get close with a DVD by Frank’s son Dweezil, titled “Zappa Plays Zappa.” You can use that as a “spine” to help direct further purchases.

  3. I will have to take a look into these suggestions. I purchased Apostrophe, One Size Fits All, and Over-Note Sensation. I will see where these three albums take me. I also picked up a book on Zappa and have begun reading about him. I am finding this quite interesting. Being that I have a pretty decent music knowledge base and own hundreds of rock albums I don’t know how I completely missed this guy.

  4. Joe’s Garage will be purchased today. I am running to the record store today to look for this(due to your recommendation) and also Yellow Shark. I am going to be writing a new entry 1.5 Frank Zappa Continued and will post this weekend.

  5. there really isn’t a “Frank Zappa’s Greatest Hits” CD ( well, there is, sorta…. ) but you can get close with a DVD by Frank’s son Dweezil, titled “Zappa Plays Zappa.” You can use that as a “spine” to help direct further purchases.